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2 tricks to keep your baby pigs warm and cozy this holiday season.

November, 2018

Ready or not, the holidays are here. Now is the time to gather with family, eat too much food, drink eggnog, share stories while holiday music plays in the background (or in my case, watch endless amounts of Hallmark movies). Curling up under the blankets, huddled next to the fireplace while the snow falls outside is like a picture-perfect Hallmark movie, am I right? But let’s be honest here – what’s the real reason we are next to a hot fireplace? IT’S COLD. Temperatures are dropping lower and lower as we near the holidays, the wool socks are coming out, and the lack of motivation to leave the house is at large. Not only does this drop in temperature affect us, it affects our animals, especially baby pigs.

TechMix swine post pig photoAt birth, piglets, particularly low-birth weight piglets, are prone to excessive heat loss due to their wet skin along with having a large surface area to body mass ratio, and lack of energy reserves, among other things. In order to get piglets off to a healthy start, they need to stand shortly after birth and be suckling in about 15 minutes. If the weather is cold or the farrowing area is not temperature regulated, a piglet will shiver to feel warm, burning their energy reserve. With this lack of energy, the likelihood of the baby pig getting to mom within 15 minutes is reduced, resulting in greater susceptibility of malnutrition, disease, and death.

To prevent this energy loss, it is crucial that piglets are dried and warmed immediately after birth. Although it would be neat, having a large blow dryer is not practical, and using a towel to dry each pig off would not be very sanitary. Fortunately, there are drying agents available in the market that can help – and even better yet, TechMix has two, Tech Dry and Dual Dry™. Each one has unique characteristics; however, they are both used for the same purpose. By drying pigs after they are born, you are reducing chilling. One of the interesting features of Dual Dry is that it is dark in color and on-farm demonstrations have shown that when used on the mats, there was a 10 degree difference 90 minutes post-application than on mats that did not use Dual Dry.

Heat lamps or heat mats are always an important feature to have in the farrowing house as well to help warm newborn pigs.  Sows and baby pigs have their own preferences to temperature with sows wanting it at 60-65˚F and baby pigs wanting it around 85˚F for the first 3 days of life. Supplementing heat to baby pigs with heat lamps or mats helps to provide the babies their ideal temperature while not overheating the mamas. Keeping our animals comfortable is key in order to get them to their maximum performance. While we are enjoying the holiday season, staying warm and cozy with our family and friends by the fireplace, be sure to keep your pigs warm and cozy with TechMix.

 

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